Our dogs do well in giving us that extra love and care that we need daily. With the comfort of their snuggles and their cheerful barks, life gets a little better. However, there are instances when a man’s best friend needs extra love and care too, especially when they have food allergies. Here at The Furry Companion, we got you covered on the things you need to know about choosing hypoallergenic dog food.
A lot of different things can be the cause of your dog’s allergies. It could be due to a dirty environment, exposure to pollens, fleas, and the type of food your pet consumes. Foods that cause sensitive reactions in your dog are usually those that contain ingredients like dairy, egg, chicken, and beef. “Understanding the key differences between food allergies and other dietary conditions can help veterinarians diagnose and manage allergy cases with confidence ,” Darin Dell, DVM, DACVD explains.
When your furry canine has a food allergy, it means that its immune system perceives a particular ingredient to be harmful. Therefore, it creates antibodies to resist this mistaken enemy and, in turn, makes the dog’s body react. “Food allergies in dogs occur most commonly due to an overreaction to specific animal source proteins or carbohydrates in the diet,” Deborah Shores, DVM says. To know right away whether or not your dog has allergies, you can watch out if they exhibit particular symptoms. Some of these would include itching, obsessive licking, having skin rashes, and vomiting.
If you notice that your buddy is experiencing these complications, you may want to change your food options. Hypoallergenic dog food is suited for dogs who get allergies with ordinary dog food. This type of dog food has wholesome, natural ingredients and vitamins necessary for their diet. Hypoallergenic food contains no preservatives, artificial flavors, and harmful chemicals that could harm your pet.
Hypoallergenic dog food does not necessarily mean that it is entirely free from potential allergens. However, these allergens are barely recognizable by the animal’s body thanks to the hydrolyzed protein. During the manufacturing of hypoallergenic food, protein is broken down into amino acids, thus creating hydrolyzed protein. These components are small yet packed with essential nutrients so that your dog quickly absorbs them.
To guide you in understanding hypoallergenic dog food, we compiled some frequently asked questions about it.
What Are the Benefits of Hypoallergenic Dog Food?
There are several advantages to choosing hypoallergenic dog food. First of all, you can eliminate food sources that can cause an allergic reaction to your dogs and puppies. Second, this type of food can bring a lot of health benefits that can reduce the risks of multiple diseases. The dogs can also avoid complications, such as heart, kidney, and digestive system diseases.
Lastly, choosing hypoallergenic dog food does not only help your pet, but it also saves you a lot of money in the long haul. Since this food can rid your dog of illnesses, you can save up on medication and vet bills in the future. It’s a win-win for both the pet and the owner!
What Are the Components of Hypoallergenic Dog Food?
Contrary to what most people believe, dogs can’t live off of meat alone. Feeding your canine an all-meat diet will cause various complications in their health. As a pet owner, you need to include carbohydrates and vitamins in your dog’s diet. These essentials are present in food sources like vegetables, cereals, potatoes, barley, rice, and sorghum.
More than that, dogs are better fed with protein sources that are easily digestible to avoid sensitivities without sacrificing its nutritional content. Examples of these kinds of meat are turkey, salmon, and duck.
Hypoallergenic food includes these types of ingredients that are easily digestible for your dogs. These ingredients are specially formulated and manufactured so that they would be less likely to give your pet’s allergies.
Is Hypoallergenic Dog Food the Same for Puppies?
Just like their parents, puppies can experience allergic reactions to food too. However, unlike older dogs, the young ones have twice the risk of developing an allergic condition. The reason is that they are learning to consume solid food rather than living on their mother’s milk. For puppies, hypoallergenic dog food is mainly in the form of treats. This type of food contains ingredients that are safe to digest and beneficial for their growth.
Is My Dog’s Allergic Reaction Caused by the Product or the Food?
If your dog reacts to the food you are giving it, the chances are it’s not because of the product. The negative effect on your dog is likely because of a specific ingredient in its meal. Even if you try other brands, if that ingredient is still present, the same reactions will occur to your pet.
However, while the type of food can be a source of allergies, it is only 10% of the possible cause. You may have to observe if your dog’s diet causes the symptoms of the allergies. In other cases, they may be sensitive to the environment, medication, or harmful on their bodies.
Are Hypoallergenic Brands More Expensive?
Switching from regular dog food to hypoallergenic dog food can indeed hurt your pockets for a bit. The extra expense in hypoallergenic dog food is because of its manufacturing. Most brands have their production line to avoid any transfer or cross-contamination of allergens.
Overall, the company’s controlled setup requires personnel and equipment for producing dog food. But do not worry: all of this trouble is made to ensure the high quality of the dog food. Despite the increase in your food budget, switching to hypoallergenic dog food can cost you less in veterinary expenses.
Apart from the health benefits, the required portions of hypoallergenic food are smaller than those of supermarket brands. More than that, with hypoallergenic brands, your dogs are bound to produce stools that are firmer and smaller. In turn, you will have an easier time to clean up.
What Should I Take Note of When Switching to Hypoallergenic Dog Food Diet?
When you’re switching your canine’s food to a hypoallergenic diet, it is vital to consider that the change should be applied gradually. Introducing massive amounts of new food can upset the digestive system of your dog. Jennifer Coates, DVM points out that, “It is important to work with a veterinarian to determine the best food for dogs with allergies. ” Usually, your vet will give you instructions and tips on how to do the food switch effectively.
Once you start giving your dog the hypoallergenic food, your pet will be on “diet trial” for around 6–10 weeks. During this time, you will have to observe if the diet is working or not. You also have to be careful of these things during the process:
– During the first days, mix the old dog food with the new one. Doing this will help ease your dog into the transition in its diet.
– When you have entirely switched to hypoallergenic dog food, avoid giving your pet any bones, bully sticks, chews, and, most notably, people food.
– Change the food and water bowl as they may still contain allergens even after washing.
What Are the Most Recommended Hypoallergenic Dog Food?
Here are our top picks for hypoallergenic dog food:
Wellness Simple Natural Limited Ingredient Dog Food (Turkey and Potato)
This dog food is guaranteed to include natural ingredients only. It is free from any artificial additives and does not have any wheat or gluten in its mix. Its main components include deboned turkey, dried ground potatoes, and peas. This dog food is perfect for adult dogs.
CANIDAE Grain-Free Pure Dog Food (Real Salmon and Sweet Potato)
With salmon as its primary ingredient, this dog food is guaranteed to satisfy your dog’s hunger. Its mixture does not contain wheat, soy, grains, or gluten. It is perfect in aiding healthy digestion because it consists of five probiotics and whole foods. It is best for adult dogs.
Purina HA Hydrolyzed Dog Food
This vegetarian formula is highly digestible for adult dogs. It is the perfect choice for maintaining balanced nutrition and growth of your dog. This food can help with inflammatory bowel diseases, skin diseases, and dermatitis.
Earthborn Holistic Venture Turkey Meal & Butternut Squash
Apart from turkey meal and butternut squash, you will also find ingredients such as sunflower oil, flaxseed, and chickpeas. This type of food is grain-free and gluten-free but is only suitable for adult dogs. This meal packs essential proteins, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Royal Canin Veterinary Diets Hydrolyzed Protein Adult PH
This hypoallergenic dog food is compatible with small or medium puppies and adult dogs. Most of its protein comes from hydrolyzed soy protein; hence, it is safe for highly sensitive doggies. It contains fibers and omega-3 fatty acids that aid in digestion and healthy skin development.
Choosing the Right Canine Cuisine
Hypoallergenic dog food can have a lot of positive effects on your dog’s growth and development. Without the risk of allergies, your dog can be a healthier and happier pet. When choosing the right kind of food, remember that it is always best to consult your vet first. Getting their advice will help you guide your dog in the food adjustments that it will undergo.
As a pet owner, we want our little companions to have the best life. However, you should remember that getting the proper dog food is not all that it takes. You still need to bring your dogs to regular checkups and purchase the appropriate medication for any other illnesses. Be sure to provide them with a clean shelter, proper exercise, and good hygiene. Last but not least, don’t forget to shower them with lots of love!